Erin Kelly, Not Kelly

Grilled cheese 4 lyfe, right across the throat.

Jun 192024
 

It was a real crapshoot but I had the grand gesture of “taking” Henry to King’s Island for Father’s Day, if by “taking him” meant that we all woke up at 6am and made him drive the nearly 4 hours to Mason, Ohio on a piping hot 90 degree day in June. To be fair, Chooch and I swore that we would help drive home but, SPOILER, Henry was in HERO MODE and refused to give up the driver’s seat, fucking bitch boy martyr that he is.

Anyway, we got there an hour after the park opened. The sun was already blistering with nary a cloud in the sky for even the slightest cover of shade, but!! The park was blessedly empty. I mean, nearly every coaster was a station wait. (I texted this to Christina who lives near King’s Island and they were like, “Does that mean it’s not crowded?” YES, YES, THAT IS WHAT THAT MEANS.)

We had as close to a perfect day as possible, really. The only thing that would have made it better would have been if it were 20 degrees cooler, but other than that – absolutely no complaints. No fights. No arguing. No annoying people. No bad ride ops. For as sickening hot as it was, everyone seemed to be in good spirits, right down to the ride operators who were super personable and speedy with the dispatches while also reminding us to stay hydrated.

Henry was sighted here!

On the real though, we have never had to wait very long for The Beast any time we have been to King’s Island, so it wasn’t too shocking to be able to walk right up to the station. The Beast, and the new family boomerang, was the main reason I was so pushy about returning to KI this year. The Beast was recently retracked (just in parts, I believe) and Chooch needed that new boomerang cred.

The first time we rode it that day, I will be honest here: My impression was, “Wow, was that kind of not that great, or am I just spoiled now?” The Beast used to be one of my fave woodies! And I still had fun, don’t get me wrong, but it just didn’t feel as wild and chaotic? We were sitting in the front row of the last car, if you care about stuff like that.

Later though, Chooch and I went back on, this time in the middle row of the last car, and I have to say, it was A LOT more fun that time. I hesitate to say that it had “warmed up,” because it was like 90 degrees that day, and should have been HAULIN’ no matter what. But the second time? DEFINITELY HAULIN’! I kept saying that over and over again too because I wanted to feel like a coaster d00d, man.

Idiot Family.

When we were in line for the Soap Box Racer boomerang, Chooch me some kid’s Instagram from his class where he posted a clip of the LIVE STREAM OF COMMENCEMENT which I didn’t even know was a thing, so hooray knowing that viewers at home got to witness this:

It’s so jarring, even though I’m expecting it, to see Chooch come shooting into the frame. Maybe I was dehydrated and brain-burnt from the sun, but for some reason, this made me LOSE MY MIND in line, and I could NOT stop laughing. To the point where I had to do a modified pee squat to keep from pissing myself. Of course this was the ONLY coaster where we actually had to stand in line (granted, only 10 minutes) because it’s brand new from this season so everyone flocked to it.

This coaster was really cute and what a great fit for Camp Snoopy! I would have been stoked to ride something like this as a kid – who am I kidding, I probably would have been too scared to, who knows.

Blue ice cream is A MUST at King’s Island. What flavor even is it?? Berry, I guess? It’s so satisfying.

I started eating it / catching the drips with my big mouth before I remembered to take an obligatory selfie with it. I’m losing it, you guys. The boxes aren’t being ticked.

We sort of let him eat this in peace.

Boo Blasters was a walk-on and let’s be real, we only rode it to get out of the heat.

Adventure Express is actually my favorite ride at King’s Island LOL. It’s the best mine train that I have ridden in America, to be honest, and they recently rethemed it a bit and it’s so good, just so so so good. Henry is usually a poo-pooer of Adventure Express but suddenly he now says that it’s, “Not bad.” I forgot how unexpectantly aggressive it is and was screaming my face off the whole time.

Also, it was around this point that my stomach was starting to cramp from probably a combo of the ice cream and extreme heat. We rode Banshee after this and 1. I forgot how insane and intense this B&M invert is; 2. the ride op stapled me and I have never before had such an unpleasant experience with vest restraints, 3. my stomach was in so much pain.

I guess that’s the trade-off – everything was practically a walk-on but because of that, our bodies weren’t really getting enough time to readjust and reset in between each coaster which probably wouldn’t have been so bad if not for the whole “surface of the sun” heat advisory that day.

Not pictured, but we also rode The Bat, Orion, Mystic Timbers, and Diamondback up to this point.

Me: I want to get photos of the new themed area.

Also Me: I’m so hot, what was I doing again?

Racer was retracked, but only partially, and I felt like the old tracked portion was bad enough to keep my opinions of this coaster low. Also, I rode by myself on the left side, and Chooch chose to ride with HENRY on the right side, and then they WON. Ugh. BUT I beat them out of the exit so technically you could say *I* won.

The return part of the Racer was actually decent though. If they retracked the whole thing, it would be so re-ridable.

After our second ride on Orion, where some trashy broad was SO APPALLED that the line attendant made her stand off to the side and wait because the rest of her group wasn’t there yet and she was crying because “now look how many people are waiting for the front row!” and the Orion crew member was like, “Too bad, I can’t let you go until your whole group is here.” She did the whole THROAT SOUND TO INDICATE DISGUST AND DISBELIEF IN THE KEY OF KAREN and then started to call someone on the phone to see where they were in line, so presumably that person/people was just going to line-jump their way straight up the station, who even knows. I fucking hate entitled people so much. We all paid to be there, now stand in line and STFU! Also, there were hardly any lines to stand in anyway so why didn’t she just wait until her whole party was ready to get in line at the same time!!??

That was the only weirdness we encountered all day, and it didn’t affect us so whatever.

Taking a break after our second ride on Orion.

Literally just fighting to stay hydrated all day.

Backlot Stunt Coaster! We’ve ridden all three of these around various Cedar Fair Parks, but the one in King’s Island is the best. The one in King’s Dominion doesn’t have any of its effects working anymore, and I think Canada’s Wonderland was the same. This ride is so much fun though.

Also, Chooch decided that he doesn’t care for any coasters that don’t have a launch. Cool. But did we ask.

LOL the last thing we did that day was ride White Water Canyon, the rapids ride, and we got DUMPED ON. The crew also can control the geysers so the kid working in one of the booths downright unleashed on us and we were like drowned rats by the end. Not gonna lie, it felt fucking great in the moment but it was a really uncomfortable walk back to the car after that.

Henry and his uniform of Oversized Shirt and Cargo Shorts.

LOL I just realized that one of the kids in the background had run ahead of us when the gates for the train were finally opened, allowing us to enter the line for the rapids and then he was sooooo distraught because his dad was like, “Fuck no, I’m not running” so the kid kept stopping and yelling, “DAD! COME ON!!!” and then eventually had to admit defeat and let us and everyone else pass him because Dad wasn’t playing the Line Jumping Game. GOOD GUY.

Having ridden everything we wanted, and not wanting to end up in the hospital with heat stroke, we left the park at 4PM. Plus, we (we lol) had a 4 hour drive ahead of us. Lest you think that the day was 100% perfect, I am here to tell you that all bets were off as soon as we left the park and that’s when the HANGER set in bigly and we ended up arguing so bad over where and what to eat and ended up at a truck stop where Henry got two slices of Sbarro for him and me, and Chooch wanted biscuits and mashed potatoes at Popeyes.

It was a terrible, miserable, hateful dinner but hey, at least we had one of the best amusement park days ever beforehand! I’m just going to go ahead and say that King’s Island is my fave Cedar Fair park (I haven’t been to any of the ones past Michigan’s Adventure though).

Jun 182024
 

Yo, you guys, I haven’t had a LIVEJOURNAL REPOST on here in years upon years but today, I randomly had a memory of this broad that I befriended in some really boring class at Pitt that I made Janna take with me (THE SAME ONE WHERE SHE WAS ACCUSED OF PLAGIARISM BECAUSE SHE PLAGIARIZED) and Janna was like, “You’re wrong, this person doesn’t exist, I think you’re birthing imaginary friends again, Erin. Get help” but I was like, “No, look – we even went out with her once to Doc’s Place and even Henry was there, remember?” And Janna was like, “Nope” so then I started to scour old LiveJournal posts in an effort to ease my decrepit mind. I got sidetracked though and started reading everything (which is…not great because holy shit you think I’m annoying now?? Did you know me in 2004!?) and then found this post about not only my short-lived COLLEGE DAYS but also BLUE FLAME which as you may know is now shuttered.

******************
SEPTEMBER 2004

Wow, I thought my life couldn’t get any worse.

Today, Hoover and I took advantage of his day off for a little wining (except not) and dining at Blue Flame, which is a family-run restaurant that I’ve been frequenting since I was a baby. 

The last time we were there was in June, when I was still on the fence about enrolling in college. It was that fateful visit that cinched the deal, because I discovered that Blue Flame offered student discount cards. What better reason to go to college? I had visions of eating there everyday with the aid of my discount card. It wouldn’t even matter if I got fat, because being a student, I’d still be better than most people. 

Before we left the house this afternoon, I checked and double checked for my Pitt ID. I didn’t want to get all the way out there and be denied my rightful discount card. 

I had butterflies in my stomach when we arrived, and I couldn’t wait to ask our waitress for a card. When she came to get our drink orders, I decided that I would pose it as a question, because I didn’t want to come off sounding too self-righteous and arrogant. She seemed taken aback at my inquiry and after an awkward silence she said, “Oh, no. Those are for Thomas Jefferson High School students.” She was obviously trying to contain her laughter, and she quickly turned and scuttled away.

I now know how Pee Wee felt when he asked about the Alamo’s basement.

Now, I’m sorry, but I really need someone to explain to me why high school students deserve a discount card. Especially the spoiled ass cake eating yuppies-in-training from Thomas Jefferson. I’m not being categorical – I went to that high school, and I was one, too. There was no such discount card in existence when I was a student at TJ. In fact, when my friends and I would congregate there, we were glared upon and treated as solicitors by the wait staff, who would all collectively sigh in relief when we exited. But now they’re bribing students to patronize the place with the promise of discount cards?! 

I’m pissed. I really am. I sat there and stewed over it throughout the lunch’s entirety, while Hoover sat there and laughed. I’m sure our sub par service would have bordered on excellency had I been a TJ student. So when Hoover was slightly upset that BEV (I hate that fucking old whore) hadn’t fetched him a new napkin, I mused that if he were a TJ student, he’d have procured a cloth napkin with his initials embroidered in gold thread. A white gloved maitre d’ would have been on hand to properly tuck it into Hoover’s collar, too.

Later on into the luncheon, Hoover proclaimed that I wasn’t picking the celery from my potato soup. But you know, when you’re in a state of such disappointment, it numbs all senses. I could have been eating bacon and it wouldn’t have mattered. Nothing matters without that discount card.

The final twist of the knife was on our way home, when we drove past another restaurant that boasted well wishes for the TJ Jaguars on their sign. This will sound unbelievable since I’m known around these parts as the Keeper of the Even Temper, but I lost control and motherfucked TJ and their discount cards all the way home. 

I’m a college student now and I want perks, I want fringe benefits, I want freebies, and deservedly so! I’ve earned this shit. Where are all of the doors at that are supposed to be opening for me, now that I attend a real life university? Where’s the balloons and confetti and lifetime supply of Fudgesicles?

And then Hoover reminded me that I’m only taking two classes, and to shut the fuck up. 

They haven’t heard the last from me.*

CURRENT MUSIC**: DOES IT MATTER WITHOUT A DISCOUNT CARD?!
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*Well except they’re closed now so I guess they HAVE heard the last from me.
**OMG I miss adding the music I was listening to at the end of every LJ post!!!!! ;(
Jun 162024
 

Our cats call Henry “Him Man” and they very thoughtfully had this Funko Pop made in his likeness (circa 2010 because there was no salt & pepper beard option and everything else made him look like Santa) for Father’s Day. So nice of them. Sadly, a Ted Nugent album and soft pretzel weren’t accessory options.

Anyway, we’re en route to King’s Island for more “Father’s Day” fun but really this was just an excuse to go ride roller coasters.

Jun 152024
 

OK let’s get this over with. The last part of the last day of the last trip to Korea. Sigh de la sighlalalalala ugh. I will try to make this one a short one.

We finished off the trip in Myeongdong. Henry wanted to get another small piece of luggage and Chooch and I wanted to do last minute shopping, so that’s exactly what we did.

I seriously wanted to buy everything in Butter.

We just don’t really have many cool shops like this in Pittsburgh and it kills me dead.

Finally got an egg bread! This is one of my favorite Korean street foods. It’s kind of reminiscent of corn bread, but then it has an egg baked inside of it. It’s so satisfying.

Not pictured, but I got a bunch of skin care at Innisfree and some gifts at Tony Moly and Artbox. Chooch bought a bunch of Seoul edition clothes at Adidas, including a pair of WHITE SWEATPANTS which he will obviously never be able to wear, as the reigning Stain King of North America.

LOL the very last night and Henry’s T-Money card had insufficient funds, so he was DENIED ACCESS. We had to wait for him to refill his card like old times. Why am I honestly tearing up at this memory.

I miss hearing these names being called out on the subway. I miss the subway. I miss the subway STATIONS. I miss the maps. I miss Henry and Chooch arguing in front of the maps.

Back at the hotel that night, we were supposed to be helping Henry pack but we were hindering and pissing him off bigly so we decided to leave him to it and we left for one last walk around the area. We stopped at two or three convenience stores for some farewell treats.

Saw this Japanese milk which cracked me up because that looks like Henry circa 2010 and we were like WE CAN’T ESCAPE HIM!!

Seodaemun – it was nice staying in this area! I’m pretty sure we had never been here on our previous trips but the location was very convenient. There was a subway entrance literally right outside of the hotel door.

Love you, Shilla Stay. You were good to us.

Korea, you’re amazing. You’re my second home. You are special and magical and gritty and shiny and historical and modern and creative and fun and and and….I could go on forever. I had such a wonderful visit, even though I was a little bitch baby at moments and having “departure date panic” in the back of my mind the ENTIRE time we were there. It was such a privilege to be back there, I am very grateful that we were able to get there, to accomplish our goal of getting married, and to bask in the beautiful Korean culture for as long as time allowed. Please, please, please let me make it back there again. It is never enough time. There is still so much I want to see and do. (I hope salt bread is still a thing the next time I go!!)

Sorry I was so annoying about these recaps. Did there need to be 187 posts for a 10 day trip? Nope, but this is me, Wordy von Doesn’tKnowWhentoStopenson. KOREA I FUCKING LOVE YOU.

Jun 142024
 

Last night was a blur. I want to say so much about it but right now I’m just kind of lost in my admiration for him as NERDY as that sounds! He did such a great job, almost entirely on his own, and I hope he is proud of himself too.

I took this picture because you can see me, Henry and Janna in the front row lol.

He graduated with high honors from one of the best magnet schools, with a concentration in Computers & Connections. He was the only one in his concentration that scored a perfect 5 on the C&C AP test. He studied abroad in Merida, Mexico. He did sailing. He did that mentorship thing at the Carnegie Science Center. He did a gaming/coding course at Pitt (and got paid for it!). He joined the tennis team and medaled!

But he also made time to work part time jobs, expand his musical horizons (“best taste in music” was a common theme in his yearbook messages and HMM WHERE DID HE GET THAT FROM), have fun with his friends (and they are a really really really great group of kids too), travel with his dorky parents, collect roller coaster credits, and apparently be “the funniest kid in the class of 2024” according to what many kids wrote in his yearbook.

Sigh.

So yeah lol. That happened. Leaving his mark.

Can’t wait to see how he closes out college lol.

Bonus pictures from the school photographer:

Chooch’s friend Zakk from elementary school to now – I used to drive them to school almost every morning and we’d listen to Escalation on the radio while making fun of all the dumb yinzers who called in (and we also called in once AND WON!!).

After “the fall.”

Jun 122024
 

I swore I wouldn’t be dramatic about this. But the day has come. MY BABY’S LAST DAY OF HIGH SCHOOL. I was telling some friends today at work that it’s such a bizarre emotion – crippling depression, a sudden awareness of TIME, mortality panic, and also giddy excitement to live vicariously through this next chapter of his life. He seems excited and has been getting shit done and planned, and that’s helping me, you know?

I haven’t mentioned this publicly (lol like I’m a FIGURE or something) but he, out of left field, has chosen Drexel after all. We REALLY thought it was going to be Pitt, but he liked what he saw and heard at Drexel, leaving Pgh is appealing to him, and honestly I think he is just ready for the next challenge.

He has been the easiest kid to parent (OK, there were moments, come on now, come on) but overall – we got lucky. He is self-motivated, scarily clever (that and “funniest kid in the school” was the theme of his yearbook messages), effortlessly smart, independent, has a huge hunger for travel and exploration – he is the greatest and best thing, person, accomplishment – everything!! – in my life. I wouldn’t change a thing. (Eh…maybe found a better place to live while he was growing up but what can you do.)

I love this kid, man! I’m so proud of him. And I love how much my friends love him too. It speaks volumes about his character. He has always been such a little adult!

OK, ugh. Enough. I’m sure tomorrow’s post (COMMENCEMENTS) will be even more sappy so I’m just going to end this with pictures from his first day of preschool, which apparently I should have posted on Instagram with the ones from today, according to my social media manager Henry (seriously, since when does he care?!) so I’ll just post them here in hopes of gaining back some maternal points.

OK ONE MORE THING I MISS THE DAYS OF WALKING HIM TO SCHOOL WHEN HE WAS A LITTLE BOY, THERE I’M DONE NOW. OFFICIALLY CRYING, HAPPY???

Jun 112024
 

Petition to make “smorg” the new cool slang to mean BUFFET OF ANY GENERALIZED THING.

Anyway, here are some bulleted things that have been happening or whatever.

  • I had a memory last week of this kid that I met in a Sunoco parking lot back in….1999 probably. It must have been shortly after I moved into my place here in Brookline, I’m guessing. I think that also, and this is bad, he was still in high school and I was 20?! NOTHING HAPPENED, IT WAS NOT THAT KIND OF “MEETING” but still, even if he was 17 or 18, I should not have befriended him. But that’s neither here nor there because as you can probably guess, we became friends after this chance meeting in a gas station parking lot, especially after realizing that we both lived in Brookline. We exchanged numbers and he came over several times to hang out – JUST TO HANG OUT AND ALWAYS WITH OTHER PEOPLE HERE, OMG. I already regret starting this story but now I have typed all of these words and don’t want them to go to waste and also perhaps Janna will read this and it will bring back loving memories for her. OK OK OK, back to my story. So this kid’s name was Carl and he was Goth, so of course I called him Gothic Carl. Most notably, he came over one time with his cousin who was a big derelict and of course immediately got a crush on Janna (JANNA: 1. Do you remember his name and was it JUSTIN; 2. didn’t he invite you to the movies??). While here, Gothic Carl SENSED an ominous, paranormal presence in my basement and gave me a ROCK OF PROTECTION which actually sat on my fireplace mantel for quite a few years.
    • One of Gothic Carl’s hobbies was slowly ambling about Brookline. He’d sometimes stop at my house so often that I would have to hide and my neighbors at the time would be like SHE DIED just to get him to stop coming over because it was getting W E I R D if you know what I mean. Several years later, when I became friends with Christina and she came to visit me from Cincinatti for a long weekend but I wasn’t able to take any time off work so she had to stay at my house and entertain herself. I had just recently told her the tale of Gothic Carl and how he would sloth around the neighborhood, so that day she went for a walk to kill time and then wrote in her LiveJournal that she had walked around “a la Gothic Carl.” Meanwhile, she was dating this broad who was O B S E S S E D with her and also laughably jealous, so she reads this and freaks out thinking that Christina was loafing around town with some goth man. Because she thought “a la” meant “with” like “apple pie a la mode” means YOU’RE GETTIN’ YOUR PIE WITH ICE CREAM, FRENCHIE. OK this seemed funnier at the time, and also when I texted Christina, she said “Gothic Carl” sounded familiar but turns out she didn’t remember this at all and I had to put every single puzzle piece into her fucking swiss-cheesed brain.

Chine.

I got this from the Post Gazette website, DO NOT SUE ME. 

  • The owner of Pitaland recently died and I just found this out the other day. I wasn’t bros with him or anything but during my early morning walks, he was often sitting at a table outside of the store, smoking his hookah, and we would always exchange pleasantries. Plus, Pitaland is just a really great local Brookline store that we frequently buy from and it’s sad. WE ARE ALL GETTING OLD. I FUCKING HATE IT.

  • Remember when I told you, Internet Secret Chest, that my Coaster Crew friend Pam has bought a house in Brookline, courtesy of realtor extraordinaire My Brother Corey? Well, it’s true. That happened. She asked me, Henry, and Chooch to swing by on Sunday to check out her new digs so that was exciting in and of itself, BUT! While we were there, Henry goes, “Pam, there is some lady standing at your front door.” And it was true – some older broad was straight peering in, not even making any moves to knock or ring the doorbell. Pam goes to answer the door while the rest of stay in another room. Last time I checked, it only takes one person to answer the door, right? The lady doesn’t even say hello, she just goes, “I live across the street and saw that you were painting your door red and came over to stop you.” 

Like, her tone was immediately harsh and combative.

Is it a crime to paint your door red?!

Pam is like, “Well, I did go back and forth on colors, but I really do love this red” and this byotch continued to be such an asshole about it that I couldn’t stand behind a wall anymore and had to go over to        mediate. (When I told group chat this story, Glenn was like “Erin standing by with a can of gasoline” lololol.) Broad was like, “WELL, I THINK YOU’RE GOING TO REGRET IT. IT DOESN’T EVEN MATCH YOUR HOUSE NUMBERS.” (Pam made a little mosaic sign with her house numbers on it) So Pam is like, “…………..” 

And the broad is like “…………..”

          And I’m like “…………..”

The broad, btw, is CHRISTINE FROM ACROSS THE STREET, in case you care. Christine says, “I’m actually about to repaint my whole house so PLEASE before you start painting anything else, come talk to me and my mom. My mom is AN EXPERT WITH COLORS. PAINT HAS TO FLOW. IT. HAS. TO. FLOW.” And I’m just over there like, “Jesus, this broad would literally die just from my living room alone….”

So then Pam goes, “Well, as you can see, I have some paint swatches taped to the wall over there, because I’m trying to plan it out…” and the lady was like “MMMMMMMMMMM” and started criticizing the door again!! Pam told her the name of the paint color (I forget what it was now) and then said, “That’s French” and the lady snaps, “YEAH I KNOW I SPEAK FRENCH!!!!” so Pam, who is still staying super friendly and calm thru this while I’m wanting to fling myself out a window, goes, “Oh really me too! *says something in French*” and now the neighbor has steam coming out of her nostrils, she’s so pissed, like she’s about to HOLD MY BEER every Viral Video Karen of the last 5 years, because I DON’T THINK SHE COULD ACTUALLY SPEAK FRENCH. 

Anyway, this weird paint push-and-pull went on for a solid 10 minutes, culminating with Pam’s stroll down interior design memory lane as she recalled the yellow and green walls of one of her old houses  – you could see Christine gnawing away at the inside of her cheeks and hiccuping with tangible distaste – and sort of ended OK I guess because Christine HUGGED HER AWKWARDLY, said she was GLAD to have her as a neighbor (suddenly? on what grounds??) and then said to me, “And Erin, you rock.” Me, who had said nothing up to this point, but the mention of my name inspired Pam to tell Christine that I also live in Brookline, so now we can add “I live on the other end of Pioneer Ave” to the only words I said to Christine. It was so bizarre. I hope Pam keeps the door red. I hope she also lines it with red neon. That’s what I would do, to the surprise of no one.

The weirdest part to me,  though, was how Pam seemed completely unbothered by this. Christine left and Pam goes, “OK where did we leave off? Oh, yeah! The upstairs!” as if she hadn’t just had her design choices dragged to Heinz Field (or whatever it’s called) and back. So, we go upstairs and find Henry and Chooch up there hiding like little bitch boys. Chooch was like, “Yeah, I didn’t want any part of that.”

  • We went for a walk in the cemetery over the weekend and Henry was dressed like a middle schooler and then I had another body dysmorphia meltdown so we left and I came home to cry about. What is my fucking problem!? I am so blah lately. Nothing amuses me. Nothing excites me. Books are boring me. Boo hoo.

The end.

Jun 102024
 

Some things that have made me happy currently.

This might end up being my summer jam 2024. It gives me STRONG mid-90s summer vibes, laying out at my Pappap’s pool with WAMO blasting on a yellow AIWA boombox, getting ready to go to Evan’s art show later that night at CMU in a minivan full of my favorite people nostalgic feels. JEESUS. U WOULDNT UNDERSTAND. U HAD TO BE THERE. I’m happy but also almost in tears as I float back into time on the waves of this beautiful summer jam.

Oh yeah-yeah-yeah.

This corner of my kitchen is still 4+4. This morning, I stood there while waiting for my coffee to be done, watching a Tears for Fears video and willing myself to get calm before logging on to another week of work. I really shouldn’t complain about my job but I have had a short fuse lately. I have been giving myself a lot of pep talks lately too which sounds REALLY LAME but it’s kind of helping. It’s keeping my heart rate down, in any case.

This is such a bad picture (??? what was I doing ???) but I’m happy that our yard is kind of OK-looking again. We (LOL “we”) replaced the little wooded fencing we had with this new one that Henry painted. I mean, the old one was really fun but the reality is that we made it out of pieces of an old pallet so it started to rot and fall apart. I hate living here so much but at least it looks moderately presentable if anyone randomly comes up to the porch for hopefully a non-nefarious reason.

Another really bad picture BUT I had been so excited for Sunday because it meant my 14-day metabolism reset was officially over (I lost 6 pounds and between .05 – 2 inches around various body parts lol) and all I could think about was the ice cream sundae from Meccha Matcha that I was going to treat myself with. You guys? WORTH IT. Good lord, this was so satisfying and I want to be eating it again right at this very moment.

Hi, this song is also constantly in my head lately, making me happy.

OK this one too! I love this WayV comeback soooo much.

*********

Well, that’s all the fucking happiness I can muster right now. Haha. :/

Jun 082024
 

I’ve been putting off recapping this part of the last day in Korea because I was such a CRA-BAPPLE and literally nothing made me happy (except for maybe that time when Henry tripped HARD on a sidewalk down there).

The plan was to go to Gentle Monster, Tamburins (Gentle Monster’s perfume brand) and Nudake (Gentle Monster’s bakery – lol, I’m a GM fangirl, OK? Leave me alone). So, off to Garosu-gil we went. This is probably Henry’s LEAST FAVORITE part of Seoul, just a super ritzy, uppity street lined with boutiques and haute couture and luxury brands, like walking down a lane of unattainable things.

It’s definitely not the same since the previous times we were there. Apparently, a lot of brands moved into the nearby Hyundai Mall, including Dr. Jart! This made me so sad because I LOVED THE DR JART FLAGSHIP STORE SO MUCH. It was like walking through a Mattress Factory exhibit but with samples of things to smear on your face. The one time we went and the top floor had turned into some crazy rest/lounge area with free samples of a vitamin drink.

Dr Jart has great products but I loved going there more for the experience.

And now there is only one Gentle Monster in this section of town, too! And it wasn’t even that fun or immersive, to be honest.

Tamburins was cool, though! Jennie from Blackpink is a brand ambassador so people were actually lining up to take pictures of this wall.

I…did not wait in that line, I just continued walking past and snapped this lol. Henry said that when I was in Tamburins, he walked outside and there was another large Jennie on another wall out there and he was given the collective death glare by a crowd of people when he dared to walk in front of it, lol.

Anyway, Tamburins was a great experience! I got really cool perfumed hand lotion for me and Wendy, who ended up REALLY liking it to the point where she was texting her perfume-aficionado friend about it. I have to say that the salespeople working there were very helpful, laid back, and pleasant. I was so clueless how to even work the applicator of the hand lotion and one of them very kindly took it from me and demonstrated in a way that somehow, against all odds, did not make me feel like a fat, stupid, ugly American. Glory be!

This is the one I got myself, BTW:

SHELL PERFUME HAND PUMKINI

I wanted to go to the Haus Dosan Gentle Monster location after this to see if the aesthetics were better, but first, we went across the street to get some late lunch at Pizza Express:

Unlike the girls at Tamburins, the guy at Pizza Express was not as happy to fulfill his customer service role for us, lol. Maybe he was just disgruntled in general but he had a very “Please make this as quick and painless as possible” demeanor, haha.

This was my kind of pizza place, that’s for sure.

And the pizza was my style too! Thin and greasy! Sorry for the grotesque photo. I was hungry and snapping a visual memento came secondary here, fo’sho.

I love this place. I want chairs like this for my house!!

I love that Yoo Jae-Suk (the Nation’s MC) and the hilarious and talented rapper Jessi ate here!

On our walk to the Apgujeong area, we passed this big car wash so I had to talk a picture for Corey because there’s some weird cultural phenomenon in the local Facebook community for our hometown where anytime someone asks what’s being built in the area, a group of hecklers/trolls say “car wash” because the joke is that there are so many goddamn car washes in the area. But then it started to cause contention and the community SPLIT: there were the trolls and then there were the people who just wanted to have real talk without underlying carwash drama in the comments. Shit got real good when Corey discovered that OUR MOM was one of the car wash trolls!

Wow, that’s way less funny when I see it all typed out.

Anyway, it took us fucking forever to walk to this other multi-level Gentle Monster enterprise and we were all pretty les miz by then.

I found the sunglasses that I wanted and even had a salesperson write it up for me, but when I took it down to the other floor where you get them fitted and pay for them, I got REALLY FUCKING BIPOLAR. Like, out of the blue, just sat down on a couch and started pouting and then had a mild and quiet flip out where I said, “never mind, I don’t want these” because I was stressed out about leaving, bottom line. I wish I could be a normal person, haha. But instead, I let my impending sadness dictate how I was going to spend my last full day in my favorite fucking place in the whole entire world because I have the emotional age of a 13-year-old. MAYBE EVEN A 10-YEAR-OLD.

It ain’t cute, EK.

But I mean, I can sit here and pretend like everything was so magical and perfect and then you could be like, “MMM SURE IT WAS HUNTY.”

Of course, Chooch was mumbling, “oh my god here we go” while Henry was poking the bear by saying things like, “JUST CALM DOWN AND BUY THE GLASSES” because history sure has shown how much women love being told to calm down.

We did go all the way to the bottom floor to see Nudake Cafe which wasn’t even crowded but even that wasn’t enough to cheer me up and, feeling the need to punish myself even more, I said, “Forget it, let’s just go.”

Honestly, Henry was probably kissing his fingertips and offering it up to God because we left the entire Gentle Monster compound without spending a dime. (Don’t worry – I ended up getting the sunglasses I wanted at the Incheon airport the next morning LOLOL,)

We left and sat down on a bench at Dosan Park and watched several adorable dog interactions (I watched with a scowl still pasted on my face but my internal sane self was saying AWWWWWWWW) and then eventually made our way to Myeongdong for last minute shopping and streetfood, and can I just say that I used the public bathroom at the subway station in Gangnam and it was cleaner than some of the bathrooms in hotels I’ve stayed at? I know, I know, that might not be saying much considering some of the dumps Henry has had us stay in.

Jun 062024
 

Happy birthday to Henry (59 ughhhhh) and Haechan (24 awwww)!

Henry is so pissed because he had to wait in line at Burger Kjng for TWENTY MINUTES ON HIS BDAY just for this crown. Worth it. (For me, I mean.)

Anyway, just my annual reminder that while I abuse and torture Henry psychologically and emotionally, he is still my top guy (can I say he is at least tied with some other guys for top spot? OK FINE ITS HIM, #1 OPPA, BAE, WHATEVER).

Jun 052024
 

Here are some things that happened around and about the last week. So exciting.

On Friday, something went down at that behavioral health house thingie a few houses up from me. One of the newer residents was being interrogated across the street by the popo. First just one, then two, then three, THEN A FOURTH. I couldn’t tell what was going on but I did hear him say at one point, “I was in Western Psych” and “So wha’ happened was…” and something about him being in the living room and someone got punched and then a girl walked in, I don’t know. They did end up cuffing him and taking him away though. Don’t worry, I was watching the whole thing from my window, doing my civic duty to make sure no BRUTALITY went down. I am so triggered by cops. Especially the while male ones! They all look the same to me, like someone said “paper dolls, but make the cops” with a finger snap.

Anyway, while this was going on, HNC’s wife came home and went COMICALLY out of her way to maneuver around that one cop car so that she could still park in “her spot.” I was like ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME. Park somewhere else! They are conducting an investigation!

Wait, that makes it sound like I’m siding with the cops. AND I AM NOT. But I was just a full-fledged embodiment of an eyeroll at that point.

Um…Chooch is back to learning how to drive. He had a big set-back last year when he injured his knee, then he lost interest and his permit expired. Then he regained interest and got his permit renewed and has been driving with Henry every day. Here, you will find Henry instructing him on how to parallel park, which I imagine has got to be a lot easier than it was for us, back in the days of NO CAMERAS. Interestingly, and whether or not you want to believe this is entirely up to you, but I was actually REALLY excellent at parallel parking. I haven’t had to do it in years at this point so I’m probably not great at it now. But still! It was the one good takeaway from my dating Psycho Mike. He was a good parallel parking teacher.

During one of Chooch’s STUDENT DRIVER cruises, he and Henry went to Giant Eagle (GROCERY STORE if anyone not in Pittsburgh reads this some day after I commit a crime / expire in a spectacular way and the Internet suddenly becomes interested in WHO WAS ERIN KELLY), where Chooch texted me a picture of a COOKIE CRISP box that features YEONJUN from TXT. I was like OMG even  though I don’t hard stan TXT, I like their music and thought this was a really cute collab! Anyway, they came home, and I said, “Where is my cereal??”

Chooch scoffed, “Oh, you WANTED that? I was NOT buying it” and Henry, perpetually in the dark, goes, “What cereal? Who?” Chooch didn’t even show him!!

Anyway, Henry found this one with HueningKai and bought it for me so I’m back to being happy again (temporarily).

It’s just wild how things have changed even from when I started listening to Kpop, which doesn’t seem like it was that long ago but … 2015 man. I remember scouring the local Asian markets, desperate to find these Chinese iced tea bottles that BIGBANG was supposed to be featured on as brand ambassadors. We eventually found them in Cleveland and then finally one of our bigger Asian markets started carrying them, but it was such a big deal that I have the empty bottles lined up on my fireplace mantel like motherfucking family heirlooms.

Henry and I had breakfast with Pam and Greg on Sunday! Pam’s been in town because her house closing was on Monday (!!!) so I was happy for a reason to meet up! I randomly chose this place called Dari-Villa in Bellevue because it was equidistance from us and Greg, where she’s been staying. Never been here before, and either had Greg, but it seemed great … at first. The vibe was right: a cozy little local diner-type of place specializing in breakfast and lunch, amusement park memorabilia on display, REALLY GOOD 80s MUSIC PUMPING OUT THE SPEAKERS THE ENTIRE TIME. (Pet Shop Boys!)

Our server was nice. I can’t really comment on the food because my 14 day metabolism reset had me eating plain oatmeal (lol I’m committed) but Henry said his omelet was just OK.

When the server brought our check over, Greg goes, “Oh I’m sorry, we forgot to ask you but can we get this separated three ways?” and she seemed fine with it, but I know this can be A CONTENTIOUS THING at smaller spots. “Sure thing,” she said, and, “I’ll be back over with more coffee for you guys, too.”

I was like thank god because I HAD ONLY HAD ONE REFILL and addicts gonna addict, you know?

Anyway, she came back over with three checks and Henry and Greg quickly realized that their breakfasts were mixed up (Greg got Henry’s and Greg’s was on ours) and it probably wouldn’t have mattered because they were about the same, but the server goes, “SHIT!!!” and SNATCHED UP THE CHECKS and stormed off. It was so intense. I felt like curling up inside myself.

She finally came back and I promise you these were still wrong because there is no way Henry’s and my breakfasts cost nearly $30 when all I had was coffee and a $2.95 bowl of oatmeal but ain’t no one trying to correct this bitch for a second time. We apologized PROFUSELY and she said in this low-pitched, clipped tone, “This is why we need to know in the beginning.”

WELP, NO COFFEE REFILLS FOR US, AS YOU CAN IMAGINE.

I dunno, I have big respect for people in the service industry and am a notorious overtipper, but the way she snapped out on us like that, after what I felt like a morning of pleasant interactions, it was a real turn off. I actually low-key wanted Henry to not tip her but then I would have just felt guilty. Maybe she got bad news between the time she served us our food and brought our checks, I don’t know, but I will say her tune changed bigly when she came back to collect our payment like none of that happened?? Greg apologized again and she casually waved him off and said, “Oh you’re fine!” and said the same thing to Henry the Doof who hadn’t even gotten out his credit card yet and made her stand there waiting WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT I DIDN’T WANT, I WANTED HER TO NEVER HAVE TO LOOK AT US AGAIN.

 

Jun 032024
 

Here’s another vintage Chooch photoshoot throwback because it’s Monday and this is all I’m capable of doing. I want to watch some Stray Kids content (Han focus, thank you) and read a little and then maybe go for another walk, OK? God, you always want to know everything.

Anyway, this was originally from March 2018 before our first Korea trip and I know this for sure without even going back and looking because I thought Chooch looked so cute here and then right before we left, Henry took him to get his hair cut and he ended up looking like he was cosplaying Julius Caesar in Korea. Literally had short, straight-across bangs. #BlameHenry

[Anyway x2 WRONG, ERIN: This was from OCTOBER 2018, thanks Janna for mentioning the reference to Fright Farm in your comment, lol. I was so sure of myself but I was clearly confusing this with another photoshoot from that same year that I conned Chooch into doing.]

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Being off work this week, I didn’t expect to see Chooch much at all because he always has places he “needs” to be after school. However, I was graced with his presence both Monday and Tuesday, but it turns out that’s just because the stupid Teen Center where he loafs (lol, such a dad word) is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, and he’s on the library blacklist until Saturday.

(“All the librarians hate me! I don’t even do anything there!” he cried incredulously when explaining to me his latest banning. This time, his sentence is for two weeks and “Denice” hates him so much that she even intercepted him when he popped into the library last week to use the water fountain. “I was CHOKING, my throat was SO DRY! They wouldn’t even LET ME HAVE A DRINK!” he wailed. I don’t even want to know what goes in that library, but his latest offense couldn’t have been THAT bad because that damn library has our phone number and no one called.

And by “our” number I mean Henry’s number, lol.)

After he finished his homework on Monday, we decided to watch a horror movie. We settled on “Open House,” which is part of Netflix’s cache of shitty horror. It wasn’t the greatest, but it was home invasion and that always gets me good. Chooch and I bonded over it because it’s centered around a mom and son; the dad recently died when he went to the store to get eggs (AND HE FORGOT THE MILK THAT HIS WIFE ASKED HIM TO GET) so when Henry said he was going to the store later that night, we were like, “WE WILL GO WITH YOU. WE DON’T WANT YOU TO DIEEEEEEE.”

Of course Henry was clueless because he’s never part of our things.

So we went to Giant Eagle with Henry, which he loves because it guarantees he’ll spend 5x more money and get treated to a grand finale of Chooch dramatically reading tabloid headlines in the checkout line.

We made Henry buy some ugly squash hybrid because it looked like a corpse and he was not thrilled about it and I just looked in the kitchen and noticed that it’s gone so apparently he cooked it already and I ate it without even knowing?!!?!?!??!!?!?!?!?

Chooch came home after school on Tuesday too and after he did his homework, we were bored because Henry still wasn’t home from work so I was like, “Let’s go for a walk” and Chooch was like, “OK” and then I also grabbed the camera on the way out the door and Chooch was like, “Wait—I didn’t agree to this” but then he was posing with nary a cue from me because this is his second nature, guys.

He’s a poser.

Henry drove past us on his way home from work and covered the side of his face, pretending like he doesn’t know us. OK HENRY, YOU’RE SO COOL.

We walked down Brookline Boulevard and I wonder if people in Brookline are like HERE COME THOSE WEIRDOS AGAIN like we do about people in Brookline. I mean, it’s almost always the same people carousing the boulevard and we’re part of that, when you think about it.

OMG WE’RE LOCALS.

Henry saw this picture asked, “WHERE IS THAT” like he was all paranoid that we’re hanging out at some drug shack or something.

On the way back home, we saw two of his jerky little ex-friends who we hate because they think it’s cool to use various “gay” slang in a derogatory manner, and they harassed one of Chooch’s friends and called him fat, then got all aghast and offended when Chooch stood up for the friend. I already hated the one kid and he knows it, so both of these little brats got all nervous when they saw me walking with Chooch, and Chooch and I started giggling.

Oh, the best part is that they’re only in 4th grade, hahaha. I stared them down once from the front door and Henry was like, “Wow, you’re bullying fourth graders. I’m so proud of you.” Whatever, Blake hates them too!

The best part is that they try to prank call Chooch but they call Henry’s phone, thinking it’s Chooch’s, and leave the dumbest messages like, “Hi this is the drug store. Come to the Teen Center if you want to buy weed.” Like, OK dumbass 4th graders, good job.

The Teen Center is open today so I probably won’t see Chooch right after school but he better not be TOO LATE because we’re going to Rich’s Fright Farm tonight with Jannnnnnnnnnnnnaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.

(I have a lot of pent-up energy. I love being off work but good god damn, I am not great at being alone!!!)

Jun 022024
 

This portion of the last day was really nice, actually. After our Cari Cakes run-in, we continued walking to Bukchon Hanok Village. This time, we arrived there a different way, I feel like, because there were several moments when I felt super disoriented and nothing looked familiar?? It was a lot of walking uphill, I’ll tell you that much, with a quick stop inside a little shop to buy a hand-embroidered scarf off the cutest halmeoni.

Of course now I wish I had bought more.

After what felt like days, and lots of “SHUT UP YOU’RE SO ANNOYING”s being slung around liberally between our trio, we finally made it to the top of the hill/mountain and then LO! we started to recognize the area and eventually walked right into the hankok village. When Henry and I were there a few days prior, we didn’t venture into the heart of the hanok village but were just there for cafe-purposes. You understand.

Even though this area is EXTREMELY touristy, we have still included this on every one of our trips to Seoul. If you’re not going into it expecting a perfect Instagram picture with no one in the background, you’ll be just fine. And as luck would have it, when were there in 2019, it wasn’t crowded at all so we were able to get the “money shots” then. This time, I just wanted to walk through for old time’s sake.

This is the iconic street that everyone wants to get their picture taken on, usually dressed in hanbok.  As you can, ain’t happening on this day! Still, people were trying. Also, people live in these houses so there are signs posted everyone (like the one on the brick wall up there) reminding people to speak in a whisper, but you know that wasn’t being obeyed, sadly. Some tourists are monsters and give the rest of us a bad name.

There are also people patrolling the area in an effort to keep crowds quiet, kind of like docents. Would not want that job.

My favorite part of Bukchon is all the alleys! They are photo zones in and of themselves! I made Chooch stand here so I could show you an example. You’re welcome.

What you can’t see is the hordes of people on either side of us while I quickly snapped this.

And then we went to Granhand! I’m so glad that this is still there, nestled in one of the aforementioned alleys. Honestly, blink and you’ll miss it and you don’t want to miss it, especially if you’re looking for a nice gift to bring home for someone. And it turned out, I was looking for exactly that!

We came here in 2018, thanks to a glowing recommendation on Joan Kim’s daily vlogs that she was doing that year on her Joan Day YouTube channel. Granhand is a small local perfume shop and the really nice thing about them is that you can get the bottles personalized with the name of the recipient’s name. In my case, it was Sue! I just really appreciated that she reached out to the director of admin of our Seoul office to help me have a safety net in case things with the marriage details went awry. She didn’t have to do that! But she did because she is an amazing person and director who actually genuinely cares about the people in her department.

There was a really sweet salesgirl working who was helping me decide on a scent. She asked if we were there on vacation and I said that it was our third time there and that we came back to get married.

She was really taken aback, moreso than I expected.

“Here?!” she asked, and I explained that we just truly love Korea so much, it’s our favorite place and so special to us, and she said, “Oh my god, I don’t even know what to say! Thank you! Thank you for coming here!” and then she started to tear up so then I started to tear up, and Henry was just Henrying as usual.

This was one of the best moments of our whole trip. It felt so special, and I loved having someone there to share our story with! She was also surprised that this was not our first time shopping at Granhand and thanked us for coming back to there again, too.

I highly recommend this Korean scent line and am kicking myself for, once again, not buying something for myself here! The last time, I got something for my mom and regretted not treating myself then too. Ugh.

Anyway, I got Sue the CocoCay scent which was a limited edition seasonal offering, I believe.

(Sue loved it!)

Yo, then we came to Ossuloc for some tea! Previously, we had only been to the one in Insadong, but this one had a fabulous rooftop view.

Chooch grimacing at the view.

As opposed to my dreamily ogling the view.

I had to go for the matcha. I love matcha so much. I can’t remember what this other drink was and who ordered it. Milk tea latte of some sort?

The bathroom was impeccable.

View from the bathroom….porthole.

Then we went to Randy’s Donuts! Yes, apparently there is a Seoul location. This was also the first time during the whole trip that we ran into Korea’s strict “ONE DRINK PER SEAT” rule if you want to eat inside rather than take away. Originally, we were just going to get 2 donuts but the lady was like, “Oh no, you can’t eat here unless you get a drink” so Henry was like, “Oh maybe it’s because there are three of us and we’re only getting 2 donuts” so he tried to order a third donut and she pointed to the sign again, so we all ended up having to get a drink even though we just came from Ossuloc but if there is another thing that Korea does majestically, it’s their drinks. So it wasn’t that much of a punishment!

I shared this cronut with Henry and had regertz – it was delicious and I didn’t want to share.

If I remember correctly, Henry bought a bottle of water which appeased the Randy’s lady.

And then we set off for Gangnam because I was determined to buy a new pair of Gentle Monsters, so look forward to the next post where PSYCHO BRAT ERIN makes a reappearance. :/

Jun 012024
 

Literally. So. Boring.

But, this was by my own design, I guess. I sacrificed going away and doing something fun for the long weekend in favor of choosing the previous weekend for Cedar Point. Not that that weekend ended up being any less crowded, I’m sure! Then, Chooch waited until 6PM on Friday to decide for sure that he was going to visit Julian (his roommate in Mexico!) in DC for the weekend. Julian was in town visiting his dad and asked Chooch WEEKS in advance if he wanted to come down but Chooch being Chooch kept hemming and hawing, I dunno what he was waiting for, so then we ended up having to pay over $200 at the last minute to get him a roundtrip Greyhound (which was delayed bigly there and back) and that pretty decided for us that we do nothing all weekend.

And you know how well I do with doing nothing.

NOT WELL.

Saturday afternoon, we drove out past Elizabeth, PA with the intent of buying flowers at some nursery that we like on 51, but first we went to a cemetery for a walk and I hated the cemetery – it was our first time there, it was small, and packed with Memorial Day revelers. I always forgot that it’s a big grave-visiting weekend.

I threw a body-image-related fit, cried about hating myself, took a picture of the river and some lame town over the edge of the cemetery, and then we left. Henry went the wrong way on 51 so I screamed I GUESS WE’RE NOT GETTING FLOWERS NOW and he was like YOU SAID YOU WANTED TO GO HOME BUT I WILL TURN AROUND and I was like HOW ABOUT I SHOVE A STICK IN YOUR ASS AND THEN YOU CAN TURN AROUND – I was just in A MOOD all fucking day.

Then I declared that I needed lunch and I couldn’t wait until we got home so I made Henry go to Sheetz to get me a veggie wrap and I stayed in the car because NO ONE WAS ALLOWED TO LOOK AT ME. There were three old men chilling at an outside table drinking beer and talking about sledgehammers which was considerably more interesting than my dumb Saturday.

I took this later that night to send to Chooch while he was out doing fun DC things. Not me writhing around, moaning in the key of boredom, with Tokyo Disney food review videos on in the background.

Sunday was a little better – well, to start. I decided to do a 14-day metabolism reset so Henry was like F M L because this means he has to help me since I don’t like cooking. He has been trying to prepare my lunches the night before (breakfasts aren’t too hard for me, if you can believe it) and he has been so stressed about it. Like bro, this is 14 days out of your life and you can still eat your Reeses and soft pretzels in the car like usual.

Side bar to say that it’s been a week and I have lost 4 pounds BUT what I care about the most is that I’m starting to look like my old self again, less bloated, and Henry said I look healthier in general. The stress of 2024 so far has definitely made its mark on me, lol.

Anyway, commercial break over.

I had a much more positive outlook on Sunday. We went to some trail that goes along the river between Butler and Freeport or something, I actually have no clue where we were, and it was a really nice walk. The weather was so good. The bikers were obnoxious as  usual. (I HATE WHEN BIKE AND WALKING TRAILS ARE SHARED.) I called Henry a cunt at least 87 times with so much love, and we had some good talks about Korea, Chooch going to college, Seventeen and Stray Kids alleged upcoming tours. Big talks, you guys. Big talks.

At the beginning of the trail, there was a bulletin board with an ad for a local coffee shop in Freeport and I was like PLEASE CAN WE GO I NEED COFFEE OR I’LL DIE and Henry was like oh no anything to keep you alive, sweetheart bubblebee angel snugs.

Originally, I was going to just wait in the car but then I thought, “Eh, let’s see what vibe this FREEPORT CAFE has.”

Boy-o, let me just say – glad I went in! First of all, I want to say that the baristas were very nice. I’m supposed to be cutting out sugar to the best of my ability (I HAD THREE BUTTERSCOTCH HARD CANDIES THIS WEEK OK? CALL THE FUCKING SUGAR POPO ON ME. CHRIST) so I just got an iced latte with almond milk and no syrups. It was delectable. If you can’t drink a cafe’s coffee/espresso without sugar, then that cafe sucks.

While Henry was waiting for his drink, he went to the bathroom which gave me some time to really absorb the quiet, country atmosphere of this space. And the blue walls! So when Henry came back the bathroom, I was already seated a table. “We’re staying,” I said, and he was like, “Thank god” because all he had on the horizon was yard work and cooking more meals for me. He was quite happy to postpone those festivities.

Ugh.

I’m glad I went in though because if I had asked Henry what it was like inside when he came back to the car, he’d have said something like, “I don’t know, it was like a cafe. It had some tables.”

Also though, they have really great seasonal drinks on rotating so I’m excited to go back next Sunday when my 14 days are up!

Then, later that night, perhaps around 8:30, THE ELECTRICITY WENT OUT. There was a thunderstorm and one of those things exploded or whatever. Henry saw it and hurried up and called his mom and then wrote it in his THINGS I HAVE SEEN log on a page opposite of the list of military planes he has identified in the air.

Anyway, you guys, I was DYING. Literally so BORED. Floundered on the couch like a fish being cooked in sizzling ennui. Inconsolable. Henry was like CALM DOWN and that was just  making it worse. Chooch was sending me updates from DC, eating dinner at Murphy’s Pub, surrounded by the illumination of electricity, watching a band play instruments powered by electricity, etc etc and so on and so forth while I was trying to make objects move with my mind I WAS THAT BORED.

Around 10:00, the electric company truck rolled slowly past our house and I SCREAMED IN JOY, and then my joy swiftly morphed into panic and desperation as I cried HELP US! out the window, causing Henry to beg me to stop/sit down/shut up/other commands commonly utilized by cis white males.

When the electricity didn’t IMMEDIATELY come back on, I started panicking again.

“They have to send the trucks out to find the problems first! Then they will report it and fix it! Calm down!” Henry said, because when you’re born a cis white male, you’re pre-installed with various utility knowledge too without ever having to work for any of those companies.

Finally, around 11:15, after Henry refused to walk down the street where the supposed INCIDENT occurred to see what was going, and after HOURS of obsessively checking the REPORT AN OUTAGE page for updates, I said that I was going to report it again (Henry: “Well, they already know…”) so that I could ADD A DESCRIPTION:

I smugly thrust my phone out to Henry who had been warning me to please not make threats or swear because this was connected to our account and WAS JUST ABOUT TO HIT NEXT when the lights sputtered on. And you’ve seen my house, so going from pitch black to NEON CENTRAL in 0 seconds flat is quite a spectacle. It was like the Las Vegas Strip rebooting.

So that was a fun night!

Memorial Day itself was lame. This was the first time in quite a few years that we stayed home, which meant we got to see that dumb parade. It was also Tamanna’s first time watching it and she was recording it in the beginning and then lost interest and went back inside lol.

The fact that there are two Finleys scares me.

I fucking hate it so much when these assholes fire their idiot manly man-man rifles. It should be banned! This is triggering to many people and also rude and insensitive to the area animals!!

“Complain about it,” Henry mumbled.

“You know what maybe I will!” I cried. “Now that I know Dormont has a mayor!”

Henry frowned. “You…didn’t know that?”

“No, not until that time he liked my tweet,” I said.

Henry, now looking worried, tentatively asked, “What…was the tweet?”

“‘wow apparently Dormont has a mayor’.”

Henry: “…..”

Dude this religious prayer cohort is new-to-me. Totally unexpected! My work friend Maggie lives in a neighboring town that also gets visited by this dumb parade and she said one of those guys splashed her with holy water! “That’s assault, brother,” she said in her comment on my reel. Agreed! Some of us like having evil residing within our skinsacks.

Meanwhile, Chooch’s bus home was delayed by nearly three hours so he got to live his best life by renting a city bike and tooling around the empty city at 7am, sending me pictures of the Mr. Gray Guys (squirrels) that were frolicking around.

Yeah, I really don’t think I have anything else to add. It was….a weekend.

 

May 302024
 

I have been sitting here attempting to start this post for quite some time today but I keep getting lost in the photos. I really miss it. Even this particular day which was rife with “Last Day” sadness and panic. I was just telling Megan the other day that I am bored every day, nothing makes me happy lately and she goes, “Until you go back to Korea!” and that is so sad but also mostly true! I mean, obviously things here make me happy, don’t let me be completely melodramatic. But, it feels kind of like being in a long-distance relationship!? Which, that reminds me, the other day I heard “Slide” by the Goo Goo Dolls and even though I have heard that song a million times over the years, it was this exact time that gave me flashbacks to my FIRST LONG DISTANCE RELATIONSHIP in 1998 with, and this is so stupid-dumb, a guy that I met the very first time I ever entered the goth chatroom called darkchat, lol. His name was “Misfit” (OMG I can’t even remember his real life name now) and he lived in San Diego I think. Somewhere in SoCal. Anyway, this song was new around that time and he was like, “THIS SONG MAKES ME THINK OF US” and me being the type of person whose whole damn life revolved around music, totally fell apart and was willing to give this guy ALL OF MY ATTENTION.

Anyway, then I called him one night and heard giggling in the background and I whispered, “Is that a girl??” and he was all, “HAHA no I’m, um, at a party” and then that was basically the beginning of the end of our 14-day long distance relationship.

Oh, don’t you worry, there’d be plenty more boys to be had in Darkchat over the next two years!

(No one asked, but I was curious who the man in the billboard is because Korea was in the middle of an election when we were there. Turns out it’s this guy, and he won! Something!)

After the disastrous early morning meltdown at Deoksugung Palace, things calmed down once I had coffee and breads. The plan for the first part of the day was to take Chooch to Tongin Market. I had asked him in advance to give me itinerary suggestions for this trip and that was one of the only things he explicitly said he wanted to because he had so much fun there on our last trip. So, Tongin Market is fun because you can either just buy stuff like you normally would OR you can go to the dosirak (lunchbox) cafe and buy yeopjeon and a school cafeteria tray w- the yeopjeon can be exchanged for portions of food at participating food stalls in the market so it’s a really great way to sample various types of Korean street/market food while also having a fun experience of paying with these old cash coins like you’re back in the Joseon Dynasty.

We passed this bar on the way so I had to take a picture for Megan, the biggest Beatles fan that I know! It was around 10:30am so we did not go in.

I was just desperately taking pictures of everything in the Tongin neighborhood while Henry was desperately looking for an ATM since we needed cash for the market.

I mean…Seoul is so special.

A secret selfie while waiting for Henry who was making a successful withdrawal inside a bank.

I just don’t want to ever forget it….

So then – LOL ugh – we made it to Tongin Market and um, the dosirak cafe is closed on Mondays.

You would have thought I did this on purpose, totally planned this out in order to sabotage Chooch’s last day in Korea. He was pissed. I mean, I was too, honestly, but we were trying to avoid going there on a weekend when it would be packed and with everything else we were doing, it just kept getting pushed and pushed until finally it was the last night AND SORRY FOR SCREWING UP!

Since we were there though, Chooch got some tteokbokki and then we had to find a secluded place to stand so that he could eat it. We were standing in sort of an alley off of a small back road when I saw in my periphery a girl with long red hair stride past, holding a camera. Now, anywhere else, whatever, but this is Korea and you don’t see many white women with red hair in Korea, lol. I did a massive doubletake because there is an American ex-pat YouTuber I watch occasionally and Chooch had been chiding me off and on during this trip, trying to make me look by blurting out “Look it’s Cari Cakes!” at random intervals, and then he even said he saw her the day he went off on his own in Gangnam. I don’t know why he was being so outrageous about this because yes, I watch her vlogs, but he was making me out to be a sasaeng or something, like I throw aside my entire life like a wet blanket every time I get a notification of a new Cari Cakes video.

I turned back around and looked at Chooch and Henry who both said, in tandem, “Was that—-”

Well, thanks Chooch, you appeared to have fucking manifested her!?

“You should go say hi!” Henry urged. I kept saying, “No, no, no” but eventually I was like, “OMG OK fine.” But by that point, she had gotten pretty far ahead of us and was now walking along a busier road so now, in true sasaeng fashion (thanks, Chooch) we had to essentially FOLLOW HER which was so awkward because I didn’t want to run up to her and be like, “OMG hi subscriber here” through pants and wheezes. I wanted it to be organic – or at least, organic SEEMING.

Basically, we crossed the street so that we could get ahead of her and then cross back over and, I dunno what my plan was – stop and tie my SLIP-ON VANS so that she could pass by and I could act surprised?! In the end, Henry had stayed on the same side of the street as her so that when Chooch and I crossed back over, we stopped and turned around like we were waiting for him, so then it was my excuse to “see her” and say, “OMG Cari?”

I FEEL SO CREEPY NOW THAT I AM RECOUNTING THIS which is rich coming from someone who has legit stalked people (pizza guys, middle school crushes – WHILE I WAS ALSO IN MIDDLE SCHOOL JUST TO CLARIFY – etc) and then intentionally documented it. Sometimes on film!! But look, that’s in my past.

Well, anyway, I did it. I said, “OMG, Cari?” and she was like, “…yes?” as if viewers don’t stop her all of the time. Henry was like, “I got you here but I ain’t sticking around” and shuffled over to some stoop where he creepily slurped down the rest of Chooch’s tteokbokki. So then it was just me and Chooch and I was like, “Hi, we’re subscribers!” and I wanted to tell her that this was my third time there and that we had actually come there to get married but I didn’t want her to think I married Chooch and I also didn’t want to point to Henry, hunkered down with his beard dripping in gochujang, so it was a pretty unremarkable chat from my end at least. Plus, the whole process of even getting to that point was so stressful and I felt like I was acting like a woman with a gun pressed against her back, just all wide-eyed and fake.

Whatever. Cari was very nice, though. “Are you guys also walking around in search of cherry blossoms?” she gushed and um, yep. That’s exactly it! So then she gave us some good cherry blossom spotting tips and I told her we’re from Pgh and she was like, “Oh my family is from the east coast! I’m actually going back for a visit in 4 days!” and I almost said, “I know!” because she had mentioned it in a recent video but I caught myself and just said, “Oh cool!”

Ugh, I hate how high-pitched and fake-sounding I can be.

So then when we parted ways, I had to immediately take pictures of the trees, lol.

But I mean come on. This tree is just ASKING FOR IT.

Meanwhile, as soon as Cari walked away, the first thing Chooch said shockingly was not “You’re so embarrassing” but “Why did you tell her we’re BOTH subscribers?? I’m not a subscriber!” Wow, like she fucking cares!! And then, “You’re so embarrassing.”

There it is.

This cutie!

Chooch after I told him to put his phone down so I could take a picture.

One of the side entrances to Gyeongbokgung Palace – this is *the* palace of Seoul. We didn’t go in this time, but we did walk around the walls on our way to Bukchon Hanok Village. It was such a perfect day for a walk, you guys. Absolutely bangin’ spring weather.

More palace wall.

Ugh, the beauty. This street leads up to the Blue House, which is where the President usually resides but this current one has opted to live off the grounds and now the Blue House is open to the public for tours.

Wow, thanks for smiling Henry.

OK the next post will be Bukchon Thangs. Stay tuned or tune out. IT’S A FREE COUNTRY.

P.S. here is Cari’s YouTube channel if anyone is interested (more like if anyone has read this far) in watching a lot of cafe hopping and book talking with mellow vibes. Sometimes we get cameos of her husband Kurt. Fun Fact: she has lived in Seoul for over 10 years I believe and used to be an intern at YG Entertainment (WHERE BIGBANG WAS SIGNED AT THE TIME). I actually found her channel back in 2017 when I was like, “Hmm, how hard is it for foreigners to move to Korea…” and then her “apartment tour” video from like 2016 or something came up, lol.